ON WE DON’T GO

The Fiver didn’t get where it is today – sitting in its smalls at the kitchen table getting evils from the cat and staring forlornly at a relentlessly blinking cursor in the top left-hand corner of an otherwise pristine rectangle of white – without maintaining a stiff upper lip in the face of a crisis. Luckily for us, the Head of News and Corporate Communications at the Premier League didn’t get where they are today – possibly also sitting in their smalls at the kitchen table getting evils from the cat but putting their blinking cursor to good use by having it drag a total of 272 words across their pristine rectangle of white to complete a media release that The Fiver is about to plunder mercilessly in the interests of filling up space.

“The FA, Premier League, EFL and women’s professional game, together with the PFA and LMA understand we are in unprecedented times and our thoughts are with everyone affected by Covid-19,” it begins with a sentiment The Fiver would like to echo. “We are united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019-20 football season and ensuring all domestic and European club league and cup matches are played as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.”

So, some good news from football’s overlords, but The Fiver senses something resembling a giant BUT looming on the horizon. “The FA’s rules and regulations state that ‘the season shall terminate not later than the 1 June’ and ‘each competition shall, within the limit laid down by the FA, determine the length of its own playing season’. However, the FA’s Board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019-20 season in relation to professional football. Additionally, we have collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than 30 April.”

So there you have it: before we can START FOOTBALL again, FOOTBALL will have to remain STOPPED, with the Premier League going on to point out that “the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority”. As those assorted groups encompass all Fiver readers, we could scarcely be more pleased to hear it.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I realised I did not have to explain to them a lot. The players know what is happening. It is their job and they have already been informed about it and have been thinking about it. The team offered to relinquish salaries if that is a way to help the club and its employees” – Borussia Mönchengladbach suit Max Eberl reveals how players and coaching staff have taken pay cuts to support the club.



Mönchengladbach after beating Cologne, their last game before German football was suspended. Photograph: Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

RECOMMENDED LISTENING

Football Weekly Extra will be in this general vicinity.

FIVER LETTERS

“There may be no positives from the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s at least a week since I’ve heard/read a tedious debate about VAR” – Tim Woods.

“I’m not saying it’s got dire, but I’m quite looking forward to next Monday night’s game of Connect 4 between the Plymouth Argyle and Exeter City Social Media Disgrace Twitter accounts in lieu of a derby” – Emily Hide.

“Now is the ideal time to revive the Tonight’s TV & Radio section” – Barrie Francis.

“It is heartwarming to see The Fiver cracking on pluckily, in the face of the current football vacuum. It’s great for the spirits to have a daily (kind of) football update. Can I suggest perhaps a ‘Best of The Fiver’, recirculating articles from ancient Fivers? OK, ‘best’ might be a misnomer. ‘Bits of The Fiver’?” – Rod de Lisle.

“Re: yesterday’s Fiver (‘This is only our fourth edition since the shutters came crashing down and already we’ve totally run out of ideas on how to fill this space’). Who are you kidding? That boat sailed by the fourth line of the first ever copy” – Martyn Shapter.

Send your letters to [email protected] And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is … Rod de Lisle.

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

Peter Whittingham, the former Cardiff City and Aston Villa midfielder has died aged 35 after a fall earlier this month. “We are heartbroken,” said Cardiff. “The news of Peter’s sudden and untimely passing has shaken us to our very foundation.”

RIP Peter.



RIP Peter. Photograph: Huw Evans/Rex/Shutterstock

Premier League clubs have been urged to follow the leads of Liverpool and Brighton now that food bank collections at matches are no longer possible. “Given that approximately 40% of food parcels currently go to feed children, this is a disaster waiting to happen,” said the FSF.

The FA has confirmed that no member of the England team has exhibited symptoms of Covid-19 on their return from the SheBelieves Cup, following news that the Japanese FA president – who attended the tournament – has tested positive.

The director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership – which sounds like a 1990s chart dance pairing – believes that building Everton’s new ground later this year will help boost economic confidence in the wake of the ongoing crisis. “Investments like this will unlock real potential,” said Henri Murison.

And Willian is happy to play for Chelsea beyond the end of his contract if the Premier League has to finish after that point. “It would be no problem for me to end the league in a way which would be loyal to the club, as they always were with me, regardless of a signed paper,” he said.

STILL WANT MORE?

Simon Burnton takes to the rocking chair, opens his big book of history and regales you with the forgotten story of English football’s 1947 suspension dilemma.

Blackpool scoring in the snow at Stamford Bridge in 1947.



Blackpool scoring in the snow at Stamford Bridge in 1947. Photograph: Central Press/Getty Images

Former England winger Colin Grainger knows what it’s like to score twice against Brazil on your international debut and is here to tell you about it.

More old gold from the archives: the Joy of Six … rabonas.

Take your mind off things for five minutes with our fiendish quiz on globetrotting footballers.

Liga MX pervades and Ronaldinho runs the prison yard in this week’s Classic YouTube.

Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!

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